Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, by Paula Rose Michelson
An illegal immigrant
Bound by secrets
Trapped by choices
An arranged marriage
A forbidden love
Will Naomi be able to tell her husband about herself before someone else does?
Tell us about your book.
Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing begins when fifteen-year-old Naomi who wants to practice her faith in public, find her uncle, and help him raise enough money to bring their family agrees to companion a blind, old woman whose family plans to tour Europe and settle in the United States. However, her plans are thwarted when the woman passes away aboard ship, and Naomi is handed over to immigration. While she awaits her interview, an old Tía comes to Naomi’s rescue and offers to take her in. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Naomi agrees and unwittingly enters the country illegally.
This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress with a mission and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders. Along the way, she contends with piercing memories, hurtful loss, jealous opponents, a devious lawyer, and a curious priest. Through each step of this journey, she guards two secrets she dare not share with anyone, not even Chaz, the man she has married. Will she keep his love when he discovers who she really is?
Can you give us a sneak peek?
A Safe Haven
Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island. No immigrants had disembarked there since the end of World War I. Someone had told her that the authorities could remove a passenger from a ship because of a problem with their paperwork. Yet even when she sat where the man had pointed and closed her eyes, she refused to believe that her situation was as dire as it appeared.
Her mind brought her back to the moment her life had changed forever. She could still hear herself scream, “Abuela Sosa, please do not be dead,” sobbing while she had tried to shake the old woman awake. The next thing she remembered was that the old woman’s daughter-in-law had packed her meager belongings into her suitcase. Unable to stop herself, she demanded, “You have no need of me anymore? I gave you a year of my life! Your esposo—I mean, your husband—promised he would help me enter America and search for my uncle if I took care of his madre!” As she uttered the words, her sorrow had mounted, for the kindhearted old woman had treated her as if she were her very own kin. However, that was certainly not true of the daughter-in-law, who seemed unfazed by the old woman’s death as she dispassionately closed the lid to the girl’s suitcase and stared at her. Why is she in such a hurry to rid herself of me before the doctor examines Abuela Sosa and declares her dead? She remembered the secretive phone call the woman had answered, worried that the family had somehow discovered that the last name she had given was not hers, felt a knot in her stomach, and knew her worst fears were going to come true.
What inspired this book?
Ten years ago, I gifted a friend, who publishes Messianic (Jewish Christians) authors, one of my framed writings. Whenever we met, she asked if I was perusing my craft. Six years later, I heard David Hocking speak about Israel being the land and the people. I wondered about the hidden Jews, asked God to show them to me, and I petitioned him to give me something to do that no one had done. Wishing to do something to advance the gospel, I meet with my publisher friend, and spoke of potential projects. She asked me what I would do if I could write anything. Suddenly David Hocking’s message, my desire to discover the hidden Jews, and share the gospel coalesced. I knew what I was going to write about. However, while researching Naomi’s Sephardic heritage, she began speaking to me! What was to be one book about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail has become this six-book Casa Saga about a people few know about!
What has been your most challenging experience writing a book?
For this dyslectic artist who had never written dialogue and neither spoke or read Spanish learning what to say, and how to say it or spell it became a passion of mine. Because the extensive research went back more than 500 years, one might think that I did that first. Yet that was not the case. Researching specific things occurred after Naomi spoke the draft for God had told me not to edit Him. Since God had assigned this work to me I knew I would find that what had been written was valid. To find that validation was not easily done. Many times I searched each dot com book ordering website looking for a book whose title I did not know. Sometimes it took days, or weeks to find what I needed, but I always did!
What is your favorite thing to write about, (i.e., forgiveness, rebellion, etc)?
I love writing about people others don’t know about. Since I’m a missionary who’s married to one that’s also a pastor/teacher, my passion is sharing the gospel. These books were written so that believers could gift them to nonbelievers, and enjoy them as well. The odd number books set up worldly issues. The even number books carry detailed salvation stories, and show how lives are changed for the better when people give their heart to Messiah. And since I am a Messianic Jew, I write about Jewish people and use Jewish terms. But don’t worry because whether it’s Spanish, Hebrew, or any other language used in the book, you’ll find the English translation worked into the text. For example when Madre Vida reassures Naomi you’ll read: “No, mi hija…my daughter, you have done nothing which needs forgiveness.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I pray that this book will remind believers of the difficult lives that those who don’t know Messiah live because of their nonbelief. I hope it motivates them to act in a way that causes nonbelievers to envy what we have. I hope that reading Naomi’s story will cause those who do not know Yeshua (Christ) to search until they find the peace that only Messiah brings.
Since the first, third, and fifth books have cliffhanger endings, I hope that nonbelievers will purchase or ask their believing friend to gift them the second book. And, as I always tell my Mishpukah (faith family) should a nonbeliever ask you to give them book two, tell them that I am a Messianic author so that the relationship you have worked to established with not be broken. Should you lose contact with your friend, be at peace for on the back of the book is my website, and an email which is there so that the reader can contact me. Furthermore, if you do not know or feel uncomfortable using this material suggest they visit http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com/ where I post weekly reflective questions and portions of the books text.
What is your favorite color?
As an artist, I believe that I should sight a plethora of favorite colors. However, years ago I settled on Forest Green. When my daughter shared that this was her favorite color, I was thunderstruck. Then I thought, The Bile is really true for as we are, so will our children be!
Do you have a favorite recipe?
Since cooking is a major part of women’s lives, you will find an Empanada recipe in the chapter titled Preparation. I used the recipe that I found in my local paper which is The Empanada Man’s own creation. Having eaten there, I know that should you chose to use this recipe your food will be praised.
As a far as my favorite recipe, I must confess that having married a man who loves to cook, and was taught how to use seasonings to make the ordinary extraordinary, I thank my beloved mother-in-law, that chief of many cuisines, Rose Michelson for giving me the amazing gift of a husband who calls before he leaves work to ask what I would like to eat!
If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?
Since I continue to research what became of the family and Govenor Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva who was the first governor of New Spain and a Converso—a Jew baptized into the Catholic faith during the Inquisition, I find myself wishing I could have known him when he set off with the other Conquistadores to concur the New World, and when he returned to Spain to suggest that someone needed to govern the new province.
I would love to discover why The Martyr, The Story of a Secret Jew and the Mexican Inquisition in the Sixteenth Century researched and written by Martin A. Cohen who was a scholar of the first rank who read and spoke Castilian, Spanish, Ladino, Hebrew, and Yiddish and used at least three primary resources’ before putting anything in print misleadingly concluded that all those of the de la Cueva family except for one niece died during the Inquisition. For having meet and had many discussion with a third cousin of the Governor, I discovered that a direct descendent currently lives in Los Angeles. Since I hope to meet him, I would love to bring him the felicitations from his noteworthy ancestor.
What project are you currently working on?
The first volume of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing released on December 20, 2011. It did so well that Tate Publishing accepted Book Two, and I signed that contract a few days before the New Year began. Therefore, while I continue to speak about, and market Book One, I eagerly await working with my conceptual editor Hilary who agreed (as all my team did) to work on all the novels that comprise the Casa Saga.
I feel that I need to mention that since all but the last volume were completed before I began the publishing process, I am enjoying the thrill of meeting readers, speaking at unique forms like Biola University’s Library, and taking a table at various conferences, art galleries, and street fairs.
Currently I am working Randi, an artist friend of mine who offered to design the individual interlocking words for a bracelet I hope reads will want. Since each books working title describes many peoples journey, I hope that the words: Yearning, Fulfillment, Beginning, Commitment, Sorrow, and Joy placed around ones wrist will serve as a reminder of the juxtaposition of our life in the Lord, and what the world offers. And it is my prayer that having these to gift with a book will remind us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, while drawing the wayward back, and bringing the lost into Messiahs sheepfold.
To learn more about Paula Rose Michelson’s Writer Journey, book an event, or read the beginning of book one, visit http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com
To visit the Casa de Naomi Reflections Blog enter http://CasadeNaomi.blogspot.com
See the Casa de Naomi Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDXgUNpNJuQ
Interested in writing this historical saga? Visit: http://PaulaWordsmith.blogspot.com
E-Mail Paula Rose Michelson at CasadeNaomi@PaulaWordsmith.com
If you would like, Friend Paula Michelson on Face Book, or Follow PaulaWordsmith on Twitter
Paula has offered one free copy of Case de Naomi. At least 10 people need to leave comments WITH email addresses for there to be a contest. OR you can email me at email@example.com and put "contest - naomi" in the subject line and I will enter you. Winner announced March 25th.